Dealing with trolls is a very real and crappy aspect of being visible online. It was my experience as a vlogger that gave me an education on how to deal with internet trolls. Logging on to find trails of insidiously nasty comments, creepy anonymous messages, and straight-up psycho stuff…
Well, it really sucks to say the least. But fear not! Here comes some solid advice for dealing with that troll and restoring peace and sanity once more.
Am I being trolled?
There is a difference between receiving some negative feedback and being outright trolled! The trademark of a troll is that they are:
1) very deliberate, and
2) completely unjustified.
Are you being subject to unfair and outrageous comments that obviously seek to harass you, taint your reputation, or otherwise spread negativity for no real reason? Suspect a troll. One of the quickest ways to shut down an internet troll is to call them out for what they are.
Step One: Trust your own judgement
Is an aspect of your online activity genuinely upsetting people? Or are you copping heat from someone who is overreacting? If you are receiving online negativity, ask yourself why. It is perfectly normal to receive some negative feedback, and you don’t have to deal with all of it. You can’t win ‘em all. But the moment you feel like things have gotten nasty, refer straight to step three.
Step Two: Protect yourself and protect your brand
Perhaps you need to publicly address a piece of misinformation that has spread online. Maybe you need to have a good look at your own content and take something down, apologise, and move on. If your reputation is at stake, do whatever you feel is necessary to resolve the situation. Maybe it’s time to turn off anonymous messages and comments, or disable them altogether. Take control of the situation for the sake of yourself, your brand, your image, your sanity.
Step Three: Get an itchy block finger
In real life we have to tolerate the people who irk us. Online, the rules are different. For the sake of your own sanity, it generally helps to have an itchy block finger. Are you being annoyed by a particular online entity? Block them! Nip online negativity in the bud and block, block, block. Only respond to a troll when it is absolutely necessary, otherwise you might be fuelling the fire.
Step Four: Have a coffee break
Being the victim of a decent trollin’ can be one of the most stressful aspects of your online life. Now that you have banished those trolls, pat yourself on the back and go grab yourself a coffee. Some time away from the internet might be important for your process of sanity-restoration. I know it can be hard, but try not to let the trolls get you down. Just imagine those ridiculous comments were written by a parrot, rather than an actual person.
This four-step process has served me well when handling the sporadic trolls on my vlogs. The YouTube trolls exist in droves, but I would love to hear about others’ experiences with trolls. Have these tactics worked for you? Perhaps you have a different approach? If you’ve ever had a run-in with an internet psycho, please feel free to jump in the comments and share your stories and advice.